The job interview: Top tips

Christopher Davies

A Channel 4 television series has attracted a lot of publicity as it advertises that it takes viewers into the heart of one of Britain’s last secret places – ‘the interview room’. The show focuses on the pressure that the candidates feel before and after the interview. The tensions are high and the elation or disappointment at the conclusion real. If he had answered this way or she had not said that…

Turning the focus onto the interviewers that are featured each week though can provide a completely different perspective. Experienced HR personnel might be shouting “You can’t ask that!”

So what are the rules about interview questions?

An employer cannot pose just any question as they risk the candidate bringing a claim that they have been discriminated against even if that was the last thing on they intended. Take for example the question of an Irish applicant “do you have a problem with the drink over here?” meaning (according to the interviewer) is the Guinness as good?  It was taken as racially derogatory as a reference to the Irish being prone to drink problems.

Then there was the question of a school teacher with 27 years’ service[2] who had applied for the post of deputy principal why she would be “bothered with the hassle of the job of deputy principal” that was age discrimination.

Reducing the risk of discrimination claims taking place will ideally mean that those asking questions in the interview have had some equality training. However there are some basic rules that will always help.

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Christopher Davies

Christopher Davies

Professional Support Lawyer

Christopher has specialised in employment law for 20 years. He is responsible for ensuring that our employment lawyers are kept up to date with legal developments and changes to civil procedure.